When you go to Fraizer Farms – make sure to have breakfast or lunch at the Florida Cracker Kitchen. All good homemade cracker cookin’, and you will thank me for the recommendation. Make sure you pick up a bottle of their green or red pepper sauce – green is my favorite – but they are both good.
If you want the sweetest corn on earth – Fraizer Farms is the place to go. I’ve been getting my corn there every May and October for many years. They will only be open for another 8 to 10 days so you better take the trek to Brooksville now. It is well worth the hour drive from Tampa.
I got 4 bushels of white corn last week (to cut off the cob and freeze) – and plan on getting a bushel of yellow early next. You may have guessed, I like corn. They have lots of other fresh vegetables as well. I bring my dog and walk around.
Fraizer Farms 20175 Manecke Road Brooksville, Florida 34801 (352) 796-0823 Go to Their Facebook Page for Updates Monday through Friday: 10am to 5pm Saturday: 10am to 2pm Closed Sunday’s
The ever creative, Ferrell Alverez of the famed Rooster and the Till restaurant in Seminal Heights, and his business cohort, Ty Rodriguez have done it again – with the opening of a fun new concept: Nebraska Mini Mart. And what a gem for the community. Even more, what a place to get a great bite to eat – while taking advantage of shuffleboard, ping pong, bocce, or just lounging around on the bleachers.
Yes, I’m a “Johnny-Come-Lately” to this haunt, for it has been open since September, but I’ve found that, like myself, many of my food-centric friends have yet to part-take. Big mistake…especially if you like tasty inventive food.
While the games are a fun distraction for adults of all ages – it is the food and beverages that are the true draw and make it a unique experience. Last week, I ate the most decadently delicious BLT I have ever had – bar none. It’s hard to admit, but I didn’t stop there. Chicken wings with Malaysian chili paste, onion rings with buttermilk chive ranch and Tasso bacon-bits, Messy Fries with pulled pork, queso, charred tomato salsa, avocado drizzle – and that was all one man could handle – yes, I did share.
I am already planning my next visit, for they have a boatload of inventive (and tasty) food and beverage options – plus I will take on all comers in a game of bocce. Let me know when you are going – and I’ll challenge you to a game – loser buys a snack…so bring your wallet.
Nebraska Mini Mart 4815 North Nebraska Tampa, Florida 33603 (813) 231-9522 www.NebraskaMiniMart.com Closed on Mondays Open Noon to 10pm and longer on weekends
My friends Suzanne and Roger Perry, along with Ray Lampe (aka Dr. BBQ) opened an innovative and really good BBQ restaurant on 1st Avenue in St. Pete right across from Tropicana Field. And let me tell you…it is the BEST brisket I’ve ever had anywhere. You guys know that I don’t recommend something unless I mean it – and I can wholeheartedly tell you to run, don’t walk – to Dr. BBQ for their moist, succulent, flavorful brisket.
And don’t forget the humongous peanut butter pie.
1101 – 1st Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33705
(727) 256-9350 www.drbbqs.com
If you enjoy Indian food like I do – Flames Indian Cuisine on MacDill across from DATZ will truly excite your taste-buds. Ok, when I go to an Indian or Asian restaurant I always go with friends who like to eat so I can taste as many dishes as possible. I need a true sampling of a wide array of their offerings so I can report back to you. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
While there was only 3 of us this time – I can tell you, we did the restaurant proud with the abundant amount of delicacies we ordered. The best thing about our experience – all three of us felt it was the BEST Indian food in Tampa, and we could not really decide on what menu item we liked better.
We had: Samosa’s, Chicken Pakora, Mix Vegetable Pakora (maybe my favorite of the apps), Mulligatawny, Chicken Khorma, Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani, Goan Shrimp Curry, Lamb Vindaloo, Garlic Naan – well, I told you we did a lot of sampling. While I must try other dishes on my next visit – it will be hard to stay away from the Goan Shrimp Curry (I dreamed about it that night), or the 15 dishes we consumed.
Go. Go with friends. Go now. Call me – and I’ll go with you. You will thank me. Please do let me know of your experience.
FLAMES INDIAN CUISINE
2601 South MacDill Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33629
(813) 252-8069 www.FlamesTampa.com
Last week while visiting Frazier Farms in Brooksville foraging for fresh corn, we decided to have lunch at a local favorite which is only opened for breakfast and lunch, the Florida Cracker Kitchen – and we were not disappointed.
My shrimp and sausage gumbo had the rich roux flavor I look for and it was “loaded” with andouille sausage and okra…signs of a great gumbo for my taste. My shrimp and grits were perfectly seasoned. Because my dad taught me how to fry shrimp (remember Palios on MacDill – OMG the best fried shrimp in town before Bailey’s) I love fried shrimp so I had an order thrown in to see how they were prepared as well. Research ya’ know. They were very good…big shrimp and not too much breading.
By the way, their grits are the only ones I have ever had at a restaurant that needed no salt or butter…they were very good. Most restaurant grits are made with just water thinking that the patron can add their own salt and butter. Big mistake. And some even put sugar in them which is a Yankee thing and a big no-no. Horrible idea. We at Bailey’s, make ours with lots of cream, butter, and salt – but we cook the grits with these ingredients as opposed to adding them after the grits are cooked. Makes for better tasting grits.
The table next to me was having breakfast – and I was dying to reach over and fork her plate. I needed one of those extension forks. The omelet was huge and she said was incredible. I started to cry. Her slab bacon looked so good I got an order. I’m going to take a drive with some friends some morning for breakfast – because the dishes I saw are still on my mind. I need to go with lots of friends, so I can do a tasting. Want to join me?
Florida Cracker Kitchen 966 East Jefferson Street
Brooksville, Florida 34601
(352) 754-8787 www.FloridaCrackerKitchen.com
OPEN 6 Days-A-Week: 7:00am – 2:30pm
If you have been to Restaurant BT on MacDill across from DATZ, you will love the fast carry-out of BT’s incredible affordable Vietnamese food at BT-ToGo – also on MacDill, across Bay-To-Bay in a quaint shopping Plaza. BT Nguyen is one of my favorite chefs and while I was at the restaurant recently she asked if I’d been to BT ToGo??? The next day I was there.
You will find pork banh mi’s, beef & rice bowls, fresh stuffed rice paper rolls, curry chicken stew, and of course many of your Restaurant BT notables like her pumpkin soup and chocolate mousse.
When you want a great meal FAST – dash on over to BT To-Go
3215 South MacDill Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33629 www.bt-togo.com
Monday – Saturday: 11:00am to 8:00pm
Is there a better bakery in Tampa for Cuban bread? Absolutely not. Most fine Tampa Bay restaurants use La Segunda for their Cuban bread…a Cuban is not a Cuban unless made with La Segunda which has been around since 1905.
There is not much better in life than sitting down at the famed Columbia Restaurant with a hot bowl of Spanish Bean Soup served with a hunk of “warm & crusty” La SegundaCuban Bread wrapped in white tissue-like paper and a crock of soft whipped butter. It is simply the best.
For those of you who are fortunate to be in an UBER-EATS delivery area that handles La Segunda – you can order all your bread (and other goodies) delivered right to your door. That’s what I do most half the time these days.
Today however, I had a hankering for the smells and tastes of this old-world bakery that only a visit would accomplish. Cuban bread was what I was after – just Cuban bread. Well, I walked out with a Cuban sandwich, 2 chocolate bon-bons, 1 apple turnover, 1 guava pastry, and almost forgot my loaf of Cuban bread. Impossible not to be tempted. Impossible. Go find out for yourself.
La Segunda Central Bakery 2512 North 15th Street
Ybor City, Florida 33605
(813) 248-1531 www.LaSegundaBakery.com
Monday – Friday: 6:30am to 5:00pm
Saturday & Sunday: 7:00am to 3:00pm (ACROSS From The Academy Prep)
This small non-descript 12 seat, ten menu item restaurant packs a big tasty punch you should not miss. Anytime I find a gem like this I almost don’t want to tell anyone so I can keep it all to myself. Chef William is Italian through-and-through making everything from scratch including the pasta; and you will be delighted with his offerings all for $9.95 each (he needs to raise his prices) – except for the couple of specials he runs daily.
I love to see artisans who care about what do and Chef William shows his love of craft by the quality of the food he puts on your plate. The Bolognese was stupendous, meatballs excellent, primavera and carbonara perfect. Tiramisu was spot on as well.
This “no-frills” eatery is tops. Let me know what you think.
Piccola Italia Bistro
2140 West Doctor MLK, Jr. Boulevard
Tampa, Florida 33607
(813) 348-4912 www.Piccolaitaliabistro.com NEAR: Armenia & MLK
My friend Missy Casselli introduced me to the Ravioli Company more than 15 years ago. She asked if I’d ever been – that she met a nice couple and suggested I go. When I walked into their first store on Platt Street and smelled the smells, and took a bite of their homemade knot rolls I knew I was hooked.
This many years later, Dwight and Lauren Otis are great friends. It has been fun to watch their growth. They provide ravioli for many restaurants all around the Bay area, including Carmel Kitchen whom I consult for.
The care, passion, and love they put into each ravioli, lasagna, sauce, meatball is immediately felt upon the first bite of one of their homemade products. This is no ordinary mom & pop. They have a knack, a talent for making good food – and Lauren always greets you with a friendly smile.
Once I dropped 3 gallons of my homemade marinara sauce an hour before it had to be served. I panicked big-time. What will I do? I am very particular about what I serve to my clients – it all must be top quality and homemade. I called Lauren and Dwight and they hooked me up; and wouldn’t even let me pay. True friendship.
I remember walking in one day and Dwight making me a special caprese sandwich on one of their homemade knot rolls and handed it to me as I was walking out the door. It might be the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten. But even better is their friendship.
I love walking into their shop on Manhattan and delighting in the labyrinth of smells as soon as my nose breaches the door. Wonderful goodness.
RAVOIOLI COMPANY 3413 South Manhattan Avenue Tampa, Florida 33629 (813) 254-2051 www.RavioliCompany.com 11:00am to 7:00pm – Tuesday thru Saturday